Netherlands Startup Visa: everything you need to know

What is the Startup Visa?

If you are a non-EU citizen and you want to start your business in the Netherlands (or move it here), you can apply for a Startup Visa. Officially known as the "residence permit for startup entrepreneurs," this one-year residence permit entails specific facilities for ambitious startuppers.

Are you interested? Then it’s time to make sure that you meet the required conditions: the general requirements for obtaining a residence permit in the Netherlands, and a few specific requirements for being considered as an innovative entrepreneur.

General requirements to stay in the Netherlands

For the first category, you must have a valid passport and, of course, a clean criminal record. Then, once you’re in the Netherlands, you must take out a Dutch health insurance, open a bank account, and, depending on your country of origin, undergo a medical test for tuberculosis.

Specific requirements for the Startup Visa

For the second category, in order to demonstrate that you are a reliable and innovative entrepreneur, you have to meet the following five conditions:

  • Have a recognized Dutch facilitator. In order to obtain a Startup Visa you must first get a signed agreement with a facilitator (a business mentor) that you’ll work with once you’re in the Netherlands.
  • Have an innovative startup Don’t be scared by the word “innovative.” Of course, if you have invented a new technology or a totally new service it is more than welcome, but innovation can also concern the way in which you organize your distribution, organization of labor, or marketing. In addition, the concept of your startup has to be innovative to the Netherlands only, not the rest of the world or the entire universe for that matter! If you’d like some inspirational innovative startup examples to get you going, have a look at this page.
  • Have a solid business plan. You have to prove that your startup is not just a bright idea, but also a concrete and solid business. The business plan involves a document that explains the business operations, legal structure of your company, and step-by-step plans in detail. For step-by-step advice on writing an effective business plan, check out this page.
  • Both you and your facilitator must be registered in the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK). Your facilitator can assist you in this step. It is also very important to open a Dutch bank account. If you want to get this done ASAP, have a look at the Bunq bank, for it allows you to open an account before arriving in the Netherlands or obtaining a Dutch fiscal code (BSN).
  • Proof of having enough financial resources to start a business and live in the Netherlands for one year. You can provide a bank statement that shows that you have enough personal savings to sustain yourself. Alternatively, another legal person such as your facilitator can help you out by providing you with the financial resources needed.

Applying for the Visa

If you meet all these requirements, it means that you are ready to submit your application to the Dutch IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). If you live abroad, you have to deliver your documents to a Dutch embassy or consulate in your country. If you have already arrived in the Netherlands or if you live in Australia, Canada, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, U.S.A. or South Korea, you can conveniently deliver your documents via the IND website along with the application form.